Major brands have revved their marketing engines as they race to the new kids on the block — kid influencers. Influencer marketing is nothing new, but the advent of social media marketing in the 2010s opened the door to influencers of all shapes and sizes. As the use of social media by kids and teens grew increasingly acceptable, it became possible for young people to emerge as powerful online influencers. Today, kid influencers pack a powerful marketing punch for many big-name brands.
Companies like Target, Band-Aid, and CoverGirl are turning to school-age stars to promote their products. To better understand how pint-sized influencers have caught the attention of corporate power-players, one must understand the history behind it.
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As far back as the 1930s, brands have used well-known figures to promote their products. Whether it’s Coca Cola’s Santa Claus or one of the top YouTube creators, the success of sponsored content proves a critical point — when consumers like the person promoting a product, they tend to like the product too.
The common denominator of successful influencer sponsorships? Likability and relatability. To sell a product well, the person promoting it must appeal to a company’s target market on both fronts. For brands selling to children and parents, kid influencers fit the bill.
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#ad had a lot of fun creating this shirt for @target Art Class Fall Semester 2017. LOOVE the lips + i added a little bit of glitter to spice it up (; swipe for behind the scenes ❤️ this shirt and other #ArtClass items will be available online and in stores on August 27th!
These young social media stars can be relatable and authentic in a way that traditional advertisers can’t. Target is a perfect example. After popular kid influencers Loren Gray, Nia Sioux, and Jacob Martin shared their positive experience working with Target, hundreds of thousands of likes and comments rolled in. This is far from an isolated experience, with brands including Ava, Heinz, Disney, and Madewell promoting their products in similar ways.
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YouTube brings in a powerful video component that strongly appeals to other kids and teens. Studies have shown that 75% of children ages 6 to 17 want to become YouTubers. Kids and teens look up to young YouTube stars and are more likely to turn to them for product recommendations in comparison to TV ads.
They may be small, but young YouTubers have mighty influence. Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, for example, boasts 16 million subscribers with over 16.5 trillion views and he’s only 6 years old.
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Love learning about animals, nature, countries, and continents around the world as much as we do? Enter to win this amazing GeoSafari Jr. Talking Globe from @educationalinsights ? – Congrats to our winner of the giveaway @disney_pray_love1 !!!! – – #fashion #girlmodel #la #zurimodelandtalent #dreamraytalent #modelkids #girlsfashion #photos #photography #twins #kids #beautiful #twinmodels #identicaltwins #beauty #double #models #twinning #sisters #lamodels #ocmodels #identicaltwinmodels #kidsfashion #kidsmodel #photoshoot #childmodel #modellife #sponsored #ad #giveaway
Child stars don’t need to reach this level of fame to have influence, either. The Clements Twins‘ 30K YouTube subscribers were plenty enough to earn nearly 25K likes for their Educational Insights sponsored post.
In a different vein, James Hashimoto, better known as Action Movie Kid, and his dad used their popular special-effects video style to promote “The Gifted,” a new show on Fox. Young influencers Stella and Blaise even managed to earn a partnership with the “GotMilk?” campaign.
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My kitchen is about to get real messy, but the messier it gets the more fun we have! Making chocolate chip cookies and of course we will dunk them in a large glass of milk! Check out the link in bio for more recipes to make with your kiddos. @gotmilk #countonmilk #gotmilk #partner
The high level of parent involvement in these examples is worth noting. While teen influencers may manage campaigns on their own, parents are often the ones working behind the scenes of their child prodigies. The products they promote vary in nature, but they naturally flow with each kid influencer’s style. In Stella and Blaise’s milk ad, for example, the two kids gleefully make chocolate chip cookies in their brightly lit kitchen. While some ads break the mold, most target either kids, parents, or both.
With major brands signing up for paid partnerships, a growing number of kid influencers (and their proud parents) are striving to make a profit. This has raised reasonable ethical concerns. Audiences don’t like when kids are used for profit, but social acceptability has grown in favor of kid influencers. Influencers must comply with truth in advertising laws, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and other national and state regulations designed to protect children.
While the risk of misuse exists, social media influencing can benefit kids and brands alike. Kid influencers connected to big name brands have the potential to turn their early success into full-on careers. Even better, they appeal to adults and other kids when marketing products/services, becoming persuasive tastemakers as powerful as any adult influencer.